SAFE Work Awards virtually celebrate Manitoba safety champions

SAFE Work Awards virtually celebrate Manitoba safety champions

​​​​​​​​​​​​Wednesday, October 7, 2020​

Winnipeg, MB – During a pandemic that has challenged health and safety efforts in workplaces across the province, it is more important than ever to recognize Manitobans who are going above and beyond to ensure safety and health is a priority in their workplaces.  ​

Each year, a Manitoba worker, workplace safety and health committee, and workplace are each recognized with a SAFE Work Award for their strong commitment to the health and safety of their employees, co-workers and customers. 

SAFE Work Manitoba is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 SAFE Work Awards:

  • ​Worker SAFEty Award: Donna Arksey, former Safety Officer at the Municipality of Harrison Park (Onanole)

  • SAFEty and Health Committee Award: Birchwood Lexus Toyota Health and Safety Committee (Winnipeg)

  • SAFEty Culture Award: St. Amant (Winnipeg)

Norm the Safety Contest: Make Safety the Norm! 

A group of Manitoba high school students are also being recognized for a video project that educates their peers about the importance of workplace safety. The winners of SAFE Work Manitoba's Norm the Safety Contest: Make Safety the Norm! are Jackson Ali, Charlotte Brandao, Connor Fletcher, Tristan Fredrickson, Rudy Kreutzer, Haley Kutz, Nicole Lavallee, Brennan McDonald, Sydney Morris, Milla Richards, and Ryan Wall from École Oak Park High School in Winnipeg, who received first place for their video Workplace Nightmares, a tongue-in-cheek look at what can happen when workers don't receive proper safety training on the job. 

“On behalf of the Province of Manitoba, I'd like to congratulate the award winners on their achievements," said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “You are setting an example for others with your dedication to safety, demonstrating that each one of us can make a difference. Thanks to efforts like yours, we are seeing workplace illness and injury numbers decline in our province.

“I also want to say a special thanks for your hard work to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to managing risks posed by the usual hazards, you've had to step up to ensure people are protected from the virus."

The annual Safetys awards gala, which celebrates Manitoba achievements in workplace safety and health and recognizes winners (including the SAFE Work Award winners), has been replaced with a virtual announcement due to the pandemic.

“Although the awards celebration looks much different this year, we felt it was more important than ever to recognize workplace safety excellence in our province," said Jamie Hall, Chief Operating Officer of SAFE Work Manitoba. “I'd like to thank all the SAFE Work Award winners for championing safety and health. I have no doubt that their efforts have prevented incidents and injuries. Their hard work and commitment to safety is an invaluable gift to their colleagues, family and friends, and their community.

“To our youth winners: congratulations and thank you for using your creative skills to spread the message that safe work matters. Youth are especially vulnerable to illness and injury at work and your video will help young Manitoba workers understand their right to a safe workplace."

About SAFE Work Manitoba
SAFE Work Manitoba ― a division of the WCB is dedicated to the prevention of workplace injury and illness. Working with our partners in the safety community, we provide prevention education, safety programming, consulting and strategic direction to create a genuine culture of safety for all Manitobans.
About The Safetys
The Safetys is an awards gala, co-hosted by eight Manitoba safety organizations, to celebrate Manitobans who are making our workplaces healthier and safer. The 2020 gala will be celebrated virtually on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram​ (@thesafetys), and YouTube​.
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For more information, contact:

Tracey Shelton
Director, Communications & Public Relations
WCB Manitoba


The SAFE Work Awards program was developed eight years ago to recognize Manitobans who demonstrate ongoing commitment to making our workplaces and province safer and healthier. Nominations open every spring, and the winners are announced in the fall. The SAFE Work Awards will also be announced at The Safetys gala on Wednesday, October 7, which will be a virtual celebration this year. You can see the announcement at​.  

Norm the Safety Contest: Make Safety the Norm! is an annual contest that presents cash prizes to the winning high school students and their high schools for creating projects that educate youth about workplace safety. In 2020, a post-secondary winner was awarded as well. Entries are judged by staff members at SAFE Work Manitoba and SAFE Workers of Tomorrow.​

​Worker SAFEty Award winner

Donna Arksey, former Safety Officer at the Municipality of Harrison Park


Donna Arksey, our 2020 Worker SAFEty Award winner, made an unforgettable impact on her co-workers in her nine years working as a Safety Officer at the Municipality of Harrison Park in Onanole, Manitoba.

Sadly, Donna left her position as a Safety Officer at the municipality in November 2019 because she was diagnosed with brain cancer, and passed away on September 4, 2020. It was very clear from her nomination that Donna's hard work and dedication to safety will continue to benefit staff members at the municipality well into the future. We are happy to honour her contributions to health and safety with this award.

Former co-worker and nominator Rhonda Prettie credits Donna with leading the way towards a healthier and safer work culture. She helped to ensure workers at their waste sites are using proper personal protective equipment, staff in the office are using good ergonomic workstations, and staff who work alone use a check-in system to report back regularly and confirm they are safe, among other safety initiatives. The municipality is also now COR certified.

Donna's important contributions went beyond the physical aspects of safety in that she helped to change attitudes about safety. Her encouragement, kindness, good humour, and concern for her colleagues has made everyone at the workplace more safety-conscious. 

In the nomination submitted in March 2020, Rhonda said that “even during her prognosis and the removal of the brain tumour, Donna still called to see how things were going in the safety aspect of our workplace. Then, when she was having chemotherapy for six weeks, her husband took her for a ride to our waste site to see how things were going out there. Donna has been an inspiration to us all and we will miss her smiling face!"

​Honourable mentions: Randy Gagne (DyTerra Corporation) and Dave Sayer (Price Industries)


​SAFEty and Health Committee Award winner

Birchwood Lexus Toyota Health and Safety Commitee


Birchwood Lexus Toyota Health and Safety Committee's winning nomination showed that the committee plays an important and effective role in a safe work culture that is proactive and inclusive, with strong safety buy-in and support from management. For example, the committee includes a representative from each department of the dealership, which is one important way they ensure health and safety information reaches all employees. Non-committee members are invited to committee meetings to mentor and coach them for future safety roles.

Some of the initiatives the committee has implemented or supported include:

  • performing inspections and communicating health and safety regulations daily during COVID-19
  • implementing no-contact measures, including storm kiosks where guests can drop off and pick up their vehicles — staff wipe down the kiosks after each interaction and make hand sanitizer available for extra security
  • providing proper protective footwear to each employee entering the shop
  • implementing a clearly marked safety zone so that people can walk through the shop safely
  • holding drills on a regular basis to ensure a quick and effective response in emergency situations (mock medical emergencies and fire drills)
  • exceeding requirements by meeting monthly rather than quarterly
  • performing safety shop walks on a monthly basis, documenting the information to resolve issues and sharing the information with employees
  • selecting a different team member monthly to provide a fresh perspective and perform a safety inspection on his or her department
  • implementing daily pre-hoist shop inspections, where each technician performs the inspection on their working area, documents the findings and shares the information with other team members
  • performing monthly Toolbox Talks with employees
  • reducing accidents by 80 per cent as of April 2020.​
Honourable mentions: Price Industries Workplace Safety and Health Committee, and ProTELEC Safety Committee​​

​SAFEty Culture Award winner

St. Amant


St. Amant​'s winning nomination showed their strong commitment to building on and improving their workplace safety culture, which has revitalized staff engagement with safety and health. St. Amant is in the process of reviewing and revamping safety practices within the organization, in partnership with the WCB. This initiative started with buy-in and commitment from the executive team, and has led to more training for staff, and updated processes to ensure safety issues and incidents are effectively reported, tracked and addressed. For example, a review of processes related to injury tracking, corrective action, and early reintegration/return to work practices for injured workers has been underway.

Over the course of the past year, all staff have participated in mandatory safe work education, and the workplace safety and health committee hosts multiple safe work events to support further education and demonstrate a clear commitment to safety to all staff. This training has led to excellent conversations and an increase in interest, engagement and accountability from managers and staff around safety.

St. Amant also reviewed and revamped its safety and health committee. The committee is comprised of people from all areas and levels of the organization to ensure that staff members are able to effect change as needed, and bring concerns and ideas forward in a constructive environment where staff are enabled to take action. For example, a review of quarterly inspection processes led to an improved connection to the operations department to ensure operations-related safety issues are immediately reviewed and addressed. The executive committee member reports regularly to the executive team, and any safety issues requiring funding are escalated appropriately.

The health and safety of staff is at the forefront of all decision-making related to St. Amant's COVID-19 response. The organization has implemented screening for employees in response to provincial guidelines, and has communicated with staff every step of the way.

Honourable mentions: Assiniboine Park Zoo and Bison Transport Inc.​


​Norm the Safety Contest: Make Safety the Norm! winners

First place winners: Jackson Ali, Charlotte Brandao, Connor Fletcher, Tristan Fredrickson, Rudy Kreutzer, Haley Kutz, Nicole Lavallee, Brennan McDonald, Sydney Morris, Milla Richards, and Ryan Wall (also known as the Oak Park Phantoms) from École Oak Park High School, Winnipeg, for their video Workplace Nightmares.


Second place: Graham Steffan (Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate, Winnipeg) for designing an outdoor ad campaign about workplace anti-bullying.

Third place: Joshua Wiebe (West Kildonan Collegiate, Winnipeg) for writing and recording a song called Set Apart.

Post-secondary winners: Etienne Loney, Jacob Markham, Meghan Rempel and Bennett Sidloski for their video More Than a Picture.​​

Click here​ to see and learn more about all the winning projects.

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